Typography is a main element in graphic design; it highlights a brand’s personality and conveys a message to the users. A general rule of thumb is to use 2 fonts (3 max) that complement one another. If a designer is using 4-5 fonts and they don’t represent the brand properly, this is definitely a red flag. For example, you wouldn’t use a traditional serif font for a modern, trendy hotel and you wouldn’t use a playful, young sans serif font for a wedding venue. Every font has a specific use case, so a designer should be aware of the feeling a font gives off before choosing it to represent a brand.
Graphic design relies heavily on color to evoke emotion. Similar to typography, each color gives off a certain vibe, both on its own and when paired with other colors. It’s important to use colors that complement one another and don’t compete. A red flag would be if a designer is using conflicting colors, colors that are hard to read, colors that don’t match the brand, or not using colors in the right place. On the other hand, a good designer will use a mix of 1-2 primary colors and a few secondary or complimentary colors to really tie the color palette together without it feeling overwhelming.
Consistency is one of the most important things to look for in a designer. Are the same colors and fonts used throughout the project? Is the designer using the same styling for headings, body text and button colors? How about the spacing between similar elements within the design? Consistency creates a clean look that is easy to follow. It also builds trust with the user by giving them the opportunity to remember certain things. For example, if a designer uses the same button color across the design, users will start to remember that anytime they see a button in that color, they need to take an action.
Not Enough White Space
When designing, white space is the key to preventing chaos. In order to produce an effective design, each element needs a certain amount of space to breathe, without overwhelming the user. If every inch of available space is used, it can be challenging for a user to follow the design or understand what they should be taking away from it. Providing enough white space allows the user to consume each element on its own before moving on to the next element.
Too Much Information
A good designer knows how to get a message across using as few words as possible. Only the most important points should be included in a design. If a designer is using all words and not getting creative with icons, shapes, colors and images to get the message across, this is an issue. These design elements free up space and can sometimes be MORE effective than words. It’s a well known fact that users skim and don’t read every single thing, so if you make your message easy to understand without having to read a ton of information, that’s a win.
Message Not Clear
If a user is confused after looking at a design or didn’t understand the message, then that designer has failed. Every design needs to have a clear point. Right off the bat, a user should clearly understand what action they should take, know what they are looking at, or understand what you are trying to say to them. Making the message very clear and super simple without the user having to think too much is the sweet spot designers should aim for.
Too Much Emphasis on Design, Not Enough on UX
It’s great if a design is beautiful and visually appealing, but if the user can’t figure out how to use it or what they should be doing next, the designer did not do their job properly. The whole goal of design is to pull the user in and have them understand what to do and how to do it immediately. The user should leave the experience feeling satisfied, intrigued, and/or accomplished. A visually appealing design is important, but not at the cost of functionality or usability.
After going through this checklist, do you feel confident enough to choose the right graphic designer for your business? Whether you’re looking for someone to help create marketing collateral, redesign your website, or refresh your brand, Hudson’s design team is here to help. Talk to us today.